One unexpected hobby that I’ve taken up over the course of the pandemic has been making masks. I’ve made so many of them I’ve lost count, and I’ve also acquired a bunch of fabric in the process, perhaps slightly more fabric than I actually need.


I’ve made them for the kids, for staff, for family and friends and neighbours, mailed them off to pen pals. It’s turned out to be incredibly satisfying for any number of reasons. It’s a small project that you can finish easily; there are so many interesting fabrics (although the ones I’ve chosen have tended to veer off into left field); they’re useful to have around in abundance, in glove compartments, in pockets; they make a thoughtful gift in these perilous times.


It’s been a lovely distraction as well, all the stages of it. Online shopping for fabrics, washing, ironing, cutting, decisions about fronts and backs, folding, stitching. The actual sewing part is probably the least time consuming part of it all, it’s Ike 90% preparing to sew and 5% solving sewing machine problems and 5% sewing. Some of you, whether you’ve just “discovered” fountain pens and planners and inks and snail during the course of the pandemic, or you’ve long known the various rabbit holes of it, have shared about how stationery was a much-needed escape through all of the heaviness and headiness of these last seasons and now years. I spend my days navigating some of the backend of stationery, in catalogues and emails and boxes, so making masks has turned out to be a pleasantly tedious and productive task for me.


Is the pandemic coming to an end? Who knows how much longer this thing is going to hang on for. I thought I had seen that Toronto city council had approved the mask by-laws currently in place until January 2022.


The other day I was playing around with Naomi, and I pretended to eat some chalk. She then followed up by actually eating some chalk. This speaks to many things, none of which I want to talk about, but also that life is all sorts of tiny things. That’s neither here nor there, really.


In any case, I thought I would assemble a few of my favourite masks here, for posterity.







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October 07, 2021 — Liz Chan

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